Singapore Premier League • June 11, 2014
Tampines Depose DPMM To Re-ignite Title Hopes
Written by: Muhammad Yazid
Reigning Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League champions Tampines Rovers clung onto their title hopes after a narrow 2-1 victory over league leaders Brunei DPMM, who suffered their third loss on the trot.
It was an action-packed and unpredictable encounter as the league leaders drew first blood through Rodrigo Tosi before half time, but lost grip of the lead when Kunihiro Yamashita and Noh Alam Shah added their names to scoresheet in the span of ten minutes.
Tampines started the game on a brighter note as they looked more dangerous when penetrating, and were the first to find an opportunity to put themselves in the driving seat ten minutes into the game.
Alam Shah latched onto a long ball before trying to beat Wardun Yussof, who parried the former international’s shot away for a corner.
Eight minutes later, new signing Jozef Kaplan decided to take on the entire defence on his own as he whizzed past a sea of defenders before blasting a strike which was dealt well with by the custodian.
DPMM were struggling to create any real chance out of the game, as the backline led by skipper Fahrudin Mustafic and Yamashita seemed unbreachable.
The duo were always relied upon to clear danger balls away and denied the opponents any real chance, except in the 45th minute, when DPMM opened the accounts.
Rodrigo Tosi rose the highest and nodded in a cross from Roy O’Donovan, which bounced its way into the bottom corner of the net.
The Stags did not throw in the towel and came into the second half hungry for the equaliser to put them back into the game while DPMM were keen in doubling the advantage.
Five minutes into the restart, Joe Gamble saw his free-kick miss the crossbar by just a whisker before Tampines were awarded with a deserved equaliser in the 59th minute.
Shahdan Sulaiman whipped in a delightful outswinging corner and Yamashita was at the end of it as he thumped his thunderous header past the hapless Wardun.
In the 69th minute, the Stags took the lead for the first time when Alam Shah beat the offside trap and coolly finished the ball into Wardun’s bottom corner after receiving a through-pass from Shahdan, who provided his second assist for the night.
Although the Wasps were in need of the equaliser late in the game, the hosts had other ideas as they were the ones who were pressing for a third.
Rafi Ali’s side could have extended the lead and sealed the win soon after, if not for Alam Shah’s effort which rolled past the post, before substitute Aleksandar Duric saw his 10-yard strike got pushed away by Wardun.
This result meant that DPMM are currently only one point ahead of Warriors FC and Home United, who beat Harimau Muda on the same day, while Tampines are now sitting at fourth with only three points away from the leaders.